(Pittsburgh, PA) CORNINGWORKS, directed by Beth Corning, opens its celebratory 5th anniversary season with the world premiere of Pittsburgh’s 7th annual GLUE FACTORY PROJECT — AT ONCE THERE WAS A HOUSE, starring a multidisciplinary cast of local Pittsburgh celebrities including critically acclaimed actor JOHN GRESH, Squonk Opera’s JACKIE DEMPSEY, Attack Theatre’s MICHELE DE LA REZA, former PBT principal dancer TAMAR RACHELLE TOLENTINO, and YOAV HADDAR, former dancer with the companies of José Limón, Paul Taylor, and Pilobolus Dance Theatre among others. Co-presented by, and performed at The New Hazlett Theater, March 25 – 29, 2015.
In 2010, after serving as the Executive Artistic Director of the Dance Alloy Theater, Corning returned to her roots of creating, performing and directing her own company. With the encouragement of the local and national community (both public and philanthropic) CORNINGWORKS was founded as a vehicle for Corning to develop her unique style of dancetheater works that explore not only issues of importance to more “mature” audiences, but also engages internationally & nationally renowned “mature” performers through her unique series THE GLUE FACTORY PROJECT.
Initiated in Minneapolis in 2000, THE GLUE FACTORY PROJECT is the umbrella for Cornings’ full-evening length dancetheater productions created for critically renowned performers over the age of 40. Works that explore mature themes and subject matter, highlighting the mastery of mature renowned artists, who bring nuance, subtlety, and a deep sense of humanity to each work. Engaging a diverse cast of critically acclaimed performers from the performing arts that include stars from TV, music, theater, and dance, these full-evening works transcend age and address universal issues of the human condition with Corning’s signature dry wit, lush movement, theatrical inventions, and seasoned point of view.
In March 2010, this innovative series premiered in Pittsburgh with A SEAT AT THE TABLE, garnering rave national and local reviews. This was followed in 2011 by the critically acclaimed world premiere of ARE WE THERE YET? The 2012 production of THE LIFE & DEATH OF LITTLE FINN was a sold out event, and voted #4 in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s 2012 Top Ten Dance Performances, (which includes both local and national companies performing in Pittsburgh) and in June 2013, Corning’s one woman show REMAINS garnered standing ovations with headlines claiming “Masterful… Astute Observations… A tour de force.”. Again the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s voted REMAINS as one of their Top Ten Dance Performances of 2013, and City Paper called it “one of SEVEN TRANSFORMATIVE DANCE PERFORMANCES of 2013”. In January 2014, RECIPES OUR MOTHERS GAVE US won rave reviews and played to 5 sold-out houses, and the recent September 2014 production of PARALLEL LIVES, was noted by the Tribune Review, as one of “the latest in a string of touching and masterly pieces” and was noted as the Post Gazette’s Top Ten Dance Performances of 2014.
Now Celebrating it’s 5th Anniversary Season, Corning presents AT ONCE THERE WAS A HOUSE , a zany theatrical ride that explores the question of “whatever happened to Dick & Jane?” a series of vignettes that range from the humorous to the poignant, from the comical to the disturbing. In 2005, Corning was commissioned by GROUNDWORKS DANCETHEATER in Cleveland to create AT ONCE THERE WAS HOUSE. Created specifically on the personalities and talents of those highly trained dancers, this 30-minute version of the work won both public and critical acclaim.
“The irony is thick…an astonishing work…there is no guessing what comes next, and while there are lots of laughs in the piece, they’re balanced by poignant moments that make it thoughtful and persuasive.” — Akron Beacon
A year later, Corning “re-fitted” the work for the dancers of Dance Alloy Theater, changing the piece to fit the specific talents and personalities of the dancers of that company. Again, the work won public and critical acclaim.
” A psychological thriller, full of vivid portraits that both delighted and discomforted. This was not only compelling dance, but compelling theater!” — Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Corning chose the opportunity of CORNINGWORKS 5th Anniversary celebration to look back at some of her prior works and “re-discovered” HOUSE. Now fully immersed in the GLUE FACTORY series she saw an opportunity to further expand this prior work — not to re-create it per se, but to further develop it, using the original version as a foundation, exploring and creating new layers with a seasoned and mature group of artists. This is a truly rare opportunity for both Corning and Pittsburgh audiences.
HOUSE is built on a series of characters, each specifically drawn from the performers themselves. Working with “seasoned” adults, rather than the “young” adults (upon which the original was created), Corning sees a rich chance to implement skills honed and borne over the past decade, to explore the deeper concepts and conceits of this deeply psychological work – a work that explores hidden lives – the secrets we consciously choose to either reveal or conceal. Jettisoned to life via the deeply political and psychological metaphors of 1950 elementary school educational icons DICK & JANE – the perfect WASP family – perfect wife, perfect husband, perfect children, perfect dog, perfect life. And then?
Along with Corning, this seasoned, multi-disciplinary group of performers include:
- Jackie Dempsey musician, performer, composer, founder of SQUONK OPERA
- John Gresh, noted actor, educator, and director, including PICT, barebones productions, Quantum Theatre
- Yoav Kaddar, former dancer with Pilobolus, the companies of Jose Limon, and Paul Taylor among others
- Michele de la Reza, dancer, choreographer, founder of ATTACK THEATRE
- Tamar Tolentino, former principal dancer with PBT, and national ballet companies & choreographersCorning has long been noted for her vivid multi-disciplinary dance-theater work that combines sophistication, clarity of theatrical concepts, lush movement vocabulary, and dynamic musicality. Humor co-exists with serious examination of such issues as art and myth, gender and aging – intimate slices of the human condition. In all her work, Corning strives to provide a high-quality artistic experience for both artist and audiences, to constantly explore new structures and modes of expression, and to open doors through which we might communicate, and reveal new images of ourselves.
AT ONCE THERE WAS A HOUSE performs March 25 through 29th. Wednesday: 7pm. Thursday: 8pm, followed by a moderated post performance talk back with audience and cast led by twenty-year veteran of New York’s Off- Broadway scene, local actor & educator SHARON BRADY. Friday: 8pm, with specially priced tickets for Corningworks 5th Birthday Bash -party with the performers and crew for a post-performance “champagne & dessert” with live music. Saturday: 8pm. Sunday: “Pay what you can admission,” available only at the door with regular reserved tickets available online. The New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square, Pittsburgh PA. $30 general admission, $25 senior/student. Friday night performance and party: $50. For tickets: www.showclix.com (CORNINGWORKS) or call 1-888-718-4243, www.corningworks.org or call 412-320-4610.